A 64-ounce Big Gulp may sound like it's just the beverage to get you through your drive, but soda didn't earn its nickname "liquid candy" because it's good for you. Soda's high levels of refined sugar and empty calories have been linked to obesity and Type 2 diabetes, among other conditions and illnesses. Just how bad is it? If your daily calorie needs are about 1,600 calories, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends you eat (or drink) no more than six teaspoons of refined sugar as part of your daily diet [source: Jacobson]. One can of soda contains about 10 teaspoons (about 39 grams or 1.3 ounces) of sugar [source: Brain]. Avoid soda.
Healthy beverage alternatives to soda, sports drinks and fruit drinks include water, seltzer, 100 percent vegetable juice and 100 percent fruit juice. Keep a few bottles or drink boxes chilling in the cooler while you drive.